February 16, 2011 - Pennsylvania Voters Waiting To Decide On New Gov, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Most Back Rendell - Gamblers Should Lose At Home

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Although the largest share of Pennsylvania registered voters, 50 percent, don't yet have an opinion of Gov. Tom Corbett's job performance, the new governor gets a 39 - 11 percent approval rating from those who do have an opinion, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

But by a 53 - 33 percent margin, voters don't believe Gov. Corbett can keep his promise to balance the budget without raising taxes, similar to a 55 - 31 percent finding in a December survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.

Voters agree overwhelmingly, 69 - 26 percent, with former Gov. Ed Rendell that the Commonwealth is better off that gambling addicts spend their money in Pennsylvania rather than elsewhere. By a narrow 51 - 46 percent margin, voters support increasing legalized gambling in the state to help meet the budget deficit.

"Gov. Corbett is off to a good start. Although half the electorate doesn't have an opinion of him, among those who have an opinion more than three times as many approve of what he has done so far than who disapprove," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "His challenge will be to keep that ratio of support as he gets more detailed about how he'll deal with the state government's shortfall when he releases his budget next month."

Not surprisingly, Corbett's strongest support is among Republicans who approve of his performance 57 - 4 percent, while independent voters approve 40 - 13 percent. Although 57 percent of Democrats don't have an opinion about him, he has a 27 - 16 percent approval rating among those who do. Corbett has a small gender gap as men approve 41 - 11 percent while women approve 37 - 12 percent.

Corbett does not need to convince voters that the state's budget problems are real: 61 percent say the state's budget woes are "very serious," while 34 percent say "somewhat serious," an unusually large percentage.

"You probably can't get 95 percent of people to agree that motherhood and apple pie are good things," said Brown.

But when it gets to potential solutions, voters are much less supportive. The one idea they strongly favor is selling state liquor stores, an idea they support 65 - 26 percent. But they oppose or are divided on other budget-cutting ideas under discussion in Harrisburg:
  • Voters oppose 51 - 36 percent selling or leasing the Pennsylvania turnpike to raise cash;
  • They oppose raising taxes 63 - 33 percent;
  • They support 52 - 40 percent laying off state workers.
"Pennsylvania voters may agree on the severity of the problem, but there is nowhere near that kind of agreement about the solutions," said Brown. "They like the idea of selling the liquor stores the most and raising taxes the least."

The narrow 51 - 46 percent voter support for increasing legalized gambling as a way to reduce the red ink reflects a strong majority, 64 - 29 percent, who call gambling a "good thing."

"While voters say 54 - 39 percent that legalized slot machine gambling in Pennsylvania is creating new gamblers, they agree with Gov. Ed Rendell, who defended the expansion of legal gambling on his watch, that gambling addicts might as well lose their money in the Commonwealth," Brown said.

Voters are optimistic, 65 - 23 percent, including 51 - 32 percent among Democrats, of the next four years with the Republican as governor.

A total of 47 percent of Pennsylvania voters are "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied" with the way things are going in the state, up from a 37 percent "satisfaction" December 15.

From February 8 - 14, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,366 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.
1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Tom Corbett is handling his job as Governor?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Approve              39%    57%    27%    40%    41%    37%    32%
Disapprove           11      4     16     13     11     12     18
DK/NA                50     40     57     48     48     52     50
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              39%    38%    37%    36%    35%    45%    42%
Disapprove           13     10      9     13     14      8     11
DK/NA                48     52     55     51     52     47     48
 
 
5. Are you generally optimistic or pessimistic about the next four years with Tom Corbett as Governor?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Optimistic           65%    86%    51%    63%    62%    68%    65%
Pessimistic          23      7     32     26     26     20     31
DK/NA                12      7     16     11     12     13      5
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Optimistic           59%    56%    72%    59%    66%    71%    71%
Pessimistic          28     29     23     25     22     16     18
DK/NA                13     14      5     16     12     14     11
 
TREND: Are you generally optimistic or pessimistic about the next four years with Tom Corbett as Governor?
                     Feb 16  Dec 15
                     2011    2010
 
Optimistic           65      59
Pessimistic          23      27
DK/NA                12      14
 
 
13. In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in Pennsylvania today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Very satisfied        4%     3%     4%     6%     4%     5%     4%
Smwht satisfied      43     43     50     36     43     44     44
Smwht dissatisfied   36     36     34     37     36     35     36
Very dissatisfied    15     16     10     18     15     14     14
DK/NA                 2      2      1      3      2      2      2
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Very satisfied        5%     3%     1%     6%     8%     4%     3%
Smwht satisfied      41     49     52     45     35     39     42
Smwht dissatisfied   31     36     32     36     38     33     39
Very dissatisfied    21      8     13     12     17     22     13
DK/NA                 2      5      2      1      2      2      1
 
TREND: In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in Pennsylvania today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied? (*Low also 39% Sep 2009)
                                                             VERY+SMWHT SAT.
                                                             High    Low
                     Feb 16  Dec 15  Jul 13  Apr 08  Mar 03  Jun 05  Mar 03
                     2011    2010    2010    2010    2010    2002    2010*
 
Very satisfied        4       2       3       4       2       8       2
Smwht satisfied      43      35      37      42      37      60      37
Smwht dissatisfied   36      37      38      34      37      22      37
Very dissatisfied    15      25      21      19      23       8      23
DK/NA                 2       1       1       1       1       3       1
 
 
14. How serious do you think Pennsylvania's budget problems are very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not at all serious?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Very serious         61%    61%    54%    70%    64%    59%    67%
Smwht serious        34     33     41     25     32     36     27
Not too serious       2      3      3      2      3      2      4
Not at all serious    -      -      -      1      -      -      -
DK/NA                 2      4      2      2      1      3      2
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Very serious         61%    62%    63%    55%    53%    72%    63%
Smwht serious        32     33     29     42     43     27     31
Not too serious       3      4      6      2      2      1      2
Not at all serious    1      -      -      -      -      -      1
DK/NA                 3      1      2      2      1      1      4
 
TREND: How serious do you think Pennsylvania's budget problems are - very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not at all serious?
                     Feb 16  Dec 15  Feb 20
                     2011    2010    2003
 
Very serious         61      60      32
Smwht serious        34      33      55
Not too serious       2       4       7
Not at all serious    -       1       1
DK/NA                 2       1       5
 
 
15. To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer raising taxes or cutting government programs and services?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Raising taxes        30%    11%    49%    28%    25%    35%    38%
Cutting services     56     81     35     58     63     51     48
DK/NA                14      8     16     14     13     14     15
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Raising taxes        39%    59%    28%    26%    23%    22%    22%
Cutting services     53     26     53     60     60     68     65
DK/NA                 9     14     18     13     17     11     13
 
TREND: To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer raising taxes or cutting government programs and services?
                     Feb 16  Dec 15  Feb 20
                     2011    2010    2003
 
Raising taxes        30      30      29
Cutting services     56      56      57
DK/NA                14      14      14
 
 
16. To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - layoffs for state employees?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Support              52%    65%    37%    56%    58%    46%    40%
Oppose               40     30     53     33     33     46     52
DK/NA                 8      5     10     10      9      8      8
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Support              56%    39%    56%    49%    59%    56%    52%
Oppose               37     53     32     41     35     38     40
DK/NA                 7      8     13     11      6      6      8
 
TREND: To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - layoffs for state employees?
                     Feb 16  Dec 15
                     2011    2010
 
Support              52      51
Oppose               40      41
DK/NA                 8       9
 
 
17. To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - leasing the Pennsylvania turnpike to a private company?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Support              36%    38%    31%    42%    38%    34%    39%
Oppose               51     49     58     44     52     50     54
DK/NA                13     13     11     14      9     16      7
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Support              42%    36%    32%    43%    25%    39%    32%
Oppose               50     51     60     44     59     48     52
DK/NA                 8     13      7     13     16     13     16
 
TREND: To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - leasing the Pennsylvania turnpike to a private company?
                     Feb 16  Dec 15
                     2011    2010
 
Support              36      36
Oppose               51      52
DK/NA                13      12
 
 
18. To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - selling off the state liquor stores?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Support              65%    64%    62%    71%    68%    62%    62%
Oppose               26     27     28     21     25     28     31
DK/NA                 9      8      9      8      7     10      6
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Support              62%    64%    65%    72%    58%    69%    62%
Oppose               32     29     29     20     33     22     26
DK/NA                 6      7      6      8     10      8     12
 
TREND: To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - selling off the state liquor stores?
                     Feb 16  Dec 15
                     2011    2010
 
Support              65      66
Oppose               26      26
DK/NA                 9       8
 
 
19. To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - raising taxes?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Support              33%    16%    49%    31%    33%    33%    41%
Oppose               63     81     47     64     64     63     56
DK/NA                 4      2      4      4      3      4      3
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Support              37%    57%    29%    33%    30%    23%    26%
Oppose               61     42     59     62     67     76     71
DK/NA                 2      -     12      4      3      1      3
 
TREND: To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - raising taxes?
                     Feb 16  Dec 15
                     2011    2010
 
Support              33      32
Oppose               63      65
DK/NA                 4       3
 
 
20. If you had to make a choice to help balance the state budget, which would you choose; leasing the turnpike, selling the state liquor stores, laying off state workers or raising taxes?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Leasing turnpike     18%    16%    18%    19%    16%    19%    20%
Sell liquor stores   53     54     56     50     50     56     53
Lay off state wrkrs  13     17      8     15     17      9     10
Raise taxes           9      6     14      8     10      9     11
DK/NA                 7      7      4      7      7      7      6
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Leasing turnpike     21%    21%    15%    22%    10%    19%    14%
Sell liquor stores   53     58     56     52     51     47     53
Lay off state wrkrs   9      7     15     11     15     22     14
Raise taxes          11     12      7     11      9      7      8
DK/NA                 5      3      6      4     15      6     11
 
TREND: If you had to make a choice to help balance the state budget, which would you choose; leasing the turnpike, selling the state liquor stores, laying off state workers or raising taxes?
                     Feb 16  Dec 15
                     2011    2010
 
Lease turnpike       18      17
Sell liquor stores   53      54
Lay off state wrkrs  13      14
Raise taxes           9       7
DK/NA                 7       7
 
 
21. And which would you be most opposed to; leasing the turnpike, selling the state liquor stores, laying off state workers or raising taxes?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Leasing turnpike     15%    16%    13%    15%    16%    13%    11%
Sell liquor stores    7      8      6      6      8      6     10
Lay off state wrkrs  31     16     46     29     30     32     43
Raise taxes          43     56     31     44     42     44     32
DK/NA                 5      3      4      6      4      5      4
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Leasing turnpike     16%    13%    13%    14%    14%    15%    15%
Sell liquor stores    7      6     11      4      8      6      6
Lay off state wrkrs  35     47     28     31     30     24     26
Raise taxes          39     29     43     47     40     51     46
DK/NA                 2      5      5      3      7      3      7
 
TREND: And which would you be most opposed to; leasing the turnpike, selling the state liquor stores, laying off state workers or raising taxes?
                     Feb 16  Dec 15
                     2011    2010
 
Lease turnpike       15      14
Sell liquor stores    7       7
Lay off state wrkrs  31      28
Raise taxes          43      47
DK/NA                 5       5
 
 
22. Governor Tom Corbett has pledged that in trying to balance the state's budget deficit that he will not raise taxes or fees. Do you think Tom Corbett should have made this pledge or not?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Yes                  49%    71%    29%    53%    52%    46%    46%
No                   43     21     63     40     41     45     50
DK/NA                 8      8      8      7      7      9      5
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Yes                  43%    39%    48%    51%    44%    57%    54%
No                   48     52     46     43     45     36     37
DK/NA                10      9      6      6     12      6      8
 
TREND: Governor Tom Corbett has pledged that in trying to balance the state's budget deficit that he will not raise taxes or fees. Do you think Tom Corbett should have made this pledge or not? (*Governor-elect Tom Corbett)
                     Feb 16  Dec 15
                     2011    2010*
 
Yes                  49      47
No                   43      44
DK/NA                 8       9
 
 
23. Do you think Tom Corbett will be able to keep his campaign pledge or not?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Yes                  33%    46%    20%    38%    36%    30%    32%
No                   53     41     65     52     50     56     57
DK/NA                14     13     15     10     14     13     11
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Yes                  34%    23%    30%    31%    39%    41%    35%
No                   54     65     63     54     48     44     49
DK/NA                12     12      7     16     14     14     16
 
TREND: Do you think Tom Corbett will be able to keep his campaign pledge or not?
                     Feb 16  Dec 15
                     2011    2010
 
Yes                  33      33
No                   53      53
DK/NA                14      14
 
 
24. Do you think the current legal gambling in Pennsylvania is a good thing or a bad thing for Pennsylvania?
                                                               BnToPACasinoQ32
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Good thing           64%    56%    73%    63%    66%    63%    82%    58%
Bad Thing            29     37     23     30     28     31     14     35
DK/NA                 6      6      4      7      6      7      5      7
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Good thing           67%    64%    66%    67%    63%    68%    60%
Bad Thing            28     31     26     27     32     24     33
DK/NA                 5      5      8      6      5      8      7
 
 
25. To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose increasing legal gambling?
                                                               BnToPACasinoQ32
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Support              51%    45%    57%    52%    56%    47%    68%    45%
Oppose               46     52     41     45     42     49     30     52
DK/NA                 3      3      2      4      2      4      2      3
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Support              50%    48%    54%    53%    55%    60%    46%
Oppose               47     47     41     45     41     38     52
DK/NA                 2      5      5      2      5      3      2
 
 
27. Ex-governor Ed Rendell said on the TV news show 60 minutes that it's better for Pennsylvania that gambling addicts spend their money in Pennsylvania than take it to other states. Do you agree or disagree?
                                                               BnToPACasinoQ32
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Agree                69%    59%    74%    76%    73%    66%    80%    65%
Disagree             26     39     21     22     25     28     16     30
DK/NA                 4      3      5      2      3      6      4      4
               
 
28. Some people say that legalized slot machine gambling in Pennsylvania has created new gamblers. Do you agree or disagree?
                                                               BnToPACasinoQ32
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Agree                54%    63%    50%    53%    54%    54%    50%    56%
Disagree             39     30     43     43     39     38     46     36
DK/NA                 7      6      7      4      6      8      3      8
               
 
29. Do you think that is a good thing or a bad thing?
                                                               BnToPACasinoQ32
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Good thing           25%    23%    25%    29%    35%    16%    30%    23%
Bad Thing            67     70     66     65     58     76     57     71
DK/NA                 7      7      8      6      7      8     12      6
                   
 
32. How many times have you visited a gambling casino in Pennsylvania in the last 12 months - would you say several times, only once or twice, or not at all?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Several times         7%     8%     8%     5%     6%     8%    11%
Only once or twice   21     21     22     22     26     18     21
Not at all           71     71     69     73     68     74     67
DK/NA                 1      -      1      -      1      1      1
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Several times        16%     2%    10%     6%     4%     7%     5%
Only once or twice   26     24     32     19     19     24     14
Not at all           58     70     58     75     77     69     80
DK/NA                 -      3      -      -      -      -      -